scribbles tagged ‘curmudgeon’

loosing the heart

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Dad was 15yrs when he went to the 1948 London Olympics. A train to blitz damaged london, walk up to Wembley stadium and buy a ticket on the door. The Games were a sign of hope of recovery. We didn’t think London would be able to host them. We had humility and hope.

Dad’s a spritely 80yr old. He walks the 4 miles to the local Post Office to pick up his pension. He’s webmaster for 3 websites, one for:

  • his village.
  • a group of retired engineering professionals.
  • an engineering historical society.

Dad’s built computers and can program in many languages.  He’s no technical pansey, he likes to try things out. Dad’s always insisted that all his children have to be Engineers.  Engineering skills are fundamental survival skills and they bring joy – solving problems elegantly, beautifully. Obviously I’m biased, but I agree with dad.

Olympics celebration of capitalismDad wont be going to the London 2012 Olympics. Not because

  • he’s old
  • London is difficult to get to
  • he’s lost interest in sport

Dad’s not going because of the ‘Hoohah’ around the sale of the tickets and the whole organisation of the affair.  In their current form the Olympic games have  lost their beauty of celebrating athletic prowism. This beauty may still be there but sight of it is lost amongst all the other dross it’s dressed in.

Dad did start to try and buy tickets but was too annoyed by the lack of common sense in the process the ticket sales people had put in place. It lacked the wisdom of simple engineering. I too gave up in the process. One thing shines through for me

I love my dad

And like him I’m disappointed in how the London version of the Olympics have evolved since 1948

loosing the heart
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doing the merge thing

Saturday, April 28th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

I received a long message puportedly from Google Blogger

It was difficult to understand. I think it was saying that I will loose my Blogger Blog if I don”t click on these links and do something. I dont have a Blogger blog.  I deleted my blogger trial blog in 2004. What are they on about? I wish they’d test thier mass-mailings on people who don’t speak Blogger techno-speak then write translations before sending them to me

Google Blogger email

Unsure if the email was legitimate or some form of scam, I decided to log into my Blogger account and report the email. An excellent reporting system took a screenshot of the page I was on when making the report. I asked what I should do.  I didn’t get any submission confirmation – not even an email….. and no guidance on what to do – at 24 hours later…

While logged-in to my Blogger account I looked for a way to solve the problem. I looked for evidence that the email was real – a big button saying

“You need to do this”

It looked like Google wanted me to “merge” my blogger and google accountsIs this merge the same as the ‘upgrade’ mentioned in the letter? For obvious viral infection risks I like keeping my services distinct. No merging. If Google is determined to merge my stuff – I don’t think I can hold out against it’s repeated requests, especially when I’m getting something for free.  The feel of bullying make me gradually dislike Google more and more…..

After much tutting I did the merge thing

Later I went to read my highly organised google reader feeds only to discover that Google had duplicated the blogger account feeds in a newly created Blogger folder. Now I have the originally created feeds and the merge created feeds.

Tush.  Bullying me to integration

Giving me tidy-up tasks – delete the duplicates

Tush Tush


doing the merge thing
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blow wendy blow!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |


Home phoneWhen my landline gets a call where the caller doesn’t respond to ‘Hello?’  ‘is anybody there?’ I suspect an automated system has dialled my number. My number is on the UK’s “Telephone Preference List”. Membership of this list makes it illegal for marketers to call my number. Hoorah! The list works for me.

When  I get a call that starts with the silent treatment, an automated dialer, I LOUDLY blow into the reciever. This prompts the system to put a person on the line who decides to either:

  • speak – ask for the previous registered owner of this number then try to sell me something using a rather dodgy east Asian accent.  If I have time I play with them, trying to get information about them, without giving them any information about me.  Normally they just get angry and rude.  When I’m bored of the game I ask them to take me off their lists – they say they can’t – I tell them they’ve broken the law by calling me.  They hang-up.  I believe that I am doing a good service to society by keeping them talking to me rather than talking to someone who might fall for their naughty dishonestness
  • hangup – I suspect they recognise me as the lady who wastes their time when they’re phishing. I feel like I know them quite well now. Certainly no friends or people from organisations that provide me with valuable services have complained about the loud noise they sometimes get when they phone the wendy house


blow wendy blow!
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pink and black

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Saturday SushiWendy: t-mobile’s colours are almost the same as HMV’s   – pink and black

t-mobile assistant: Magenta

Wendy: Oh (signifying recognition that the assistant’s correction was blunt),   I’m sorry,   is Magenta a technical term for pink?

t-mobile assistant:   There’s been an SQL error entering your details,   I don’t know what SQL  is but its not your fault.    

Wendy: Sequal Server? Maybe it needs a t-mobile technical specification,   like magenta instead of pink?  

pink and black
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Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

WES ©:   Wendy Experience Scale*

What is this?

This is a tool for assessing product and services experiences.   The tool uses a questionnaire  developed with the help of Excel and 84 pots of tea.   The  WES © can be administered to any Wendy  that uses a product or service that you want to assess.   The WES © will tell you whether that product or service meets the stringent, to be published, Wendy  International Standard of Experiences (WISE).    Unlike assessment tools such as the SUS which focuses merely on usability with  Likert scales**,   the WES ©   focusses on product and service relevant experiences including usability with  9 semantic differential scales*** .     The scales tap into the following experiences:

  1. Fabulousness
  2. Aesthetics – Visuals
  3. Fitness for purpose
  4. Financial value
  5. Aesthetics – Tactility
  6. Usability
  7. Complexity
  8. Engagement
  9. Predictability****




 Also known as ‘ FAFFAUCEP’   (pronounced faff-Oh-sep)

The WES © is currently in a Beta release stage and is available for use* by product and service developers on condition that they ask advance permission and provide me with a full report of the product, service,  assessment conducted including the results which will be used to build the  WISE standards.

Administering the WES ©

Let a common all garden Wendy use your product or service  to complete a common task that it was designed to enable.   Provide a unbroken supply of tea during use.   Observe the Wendy complete the task collecting usability style observational data.   When the Wendy has completed the task,   or given up  provide her with a copy of  the WES © and ask her to mark an X on the line between each pair of experience  descriptors that indicates her experience on  this continuum.   There is a practice item that you should encourage the Wendy to complete then discuss her answer to make sure that she understands how to use the scale.     As the Wendy completes the scale ask her to describe examples that have lead to her reporting this experience.   This information will be extremely useful for either developing marketting materials or deciding what to change to improve the experience.

Below is an example of a WES ©  completed by my marking X’s on each scale item describing my experience of my wireless radio.   You can make your own practice scale that covers some dimension of the Wendys or the product being assessed.   In the example below the practice item asks about whether the Wendy considers the product a worthy conversation piece.

Practice by identifying  where you are  on this scale:

never talk about it


tell the whole  world about it


Where is the Wireless Radio on these scales?:

Absolutely Fabulous


Cover-it-with-a-brown-bag ugly


                                   Just what I need


Don’t see why I’d want to use it
You’d have to pay ME to use it


Take all my cash, and credit, NOW!
Squeeze, stroke, and lickable


Cooties, don’t touch IT!
Did I brake it or what?


Works a treat                  
I can  use it first time


training-required nightmare
   Snore, Snore, Snore


Fun, Fun, Fun

Its  obvious what it was going to do


it was full of surprises





Analysing WES © Results:

Allocate the location maked on the line with a weighting number between 1 and 10.    

For even number questions the weightings increase towards the left,   for odd number questions the weightings increase towards the right.     Sum all the weightings.       The total possible score is 90.   Higher scores indicate better Experiences.  

Coding the example provided above looks like this



9  from right
Aesthetics – Visuals


6 from left
                                 Fitness for purpose


6  from right
Financial value


6 from left
Aesthetics – Tactility


5  from right


8 from left


7  from right


7 from left



8  from right

 Total score = 62/90 = 69%

The  average of multiple  WES © scores can be  used  to provide  overall Experience score for the product.  

The   normalisation data to enable comparision across different products and services  and  indicate the value of the score relative to a benchmark will be published as part of WISE.   Note that without the normalisation data it is possible that all procucts receive scores in the 80’s (a  roof effect)  or below 20 (a floor effect).     Our expert, on-site, Wendy (me)  recommends that prior to the publication of WISE we should assume that any score under 60 is at best a mediocre product or service and any score under 45 is an experience that should be avoided.

For in depth analysis each item should be verified with the  observational measures taking during the use phase and the comments made by the Wendy’s when completing the questionnaire.  

In this example we can clearly see that the tactile aesthetics (score = 5) provided the biggest opportunity for improving Wendy’s experience.   Wendy talked about the radio being a bit too big to put in her pocket,   she liked the bouncy rubber bits but all the little buttons were a bit too small and pointy to enjoy pressing them,   she prefers rubber-buttons (who doesn’t?!) and the industrial-safety feel for portable.    


Next Steps

The WES ©  development team haven’t decided whether to gather normalisation data on the vo version, refine the  item labels before collecting normalisation data  or just chuck the semantic differential format and  develop  WES © (v1) based on a creatively cunning perverison of  Kelly’s Repertory Grid technique.  


* Use is permitted by prior agreement with the inventor (me,   Wendy!)

** the linguistically pedantic should note that Likert scales tend to use split infinitives such as ‘strongly agree’ which can irritate those completing the scale undermining its efficacy in cases where people choose not to select any options that include split infinitives for purely curmudgeonly reasons.   This makes the scale unreliable for responses from educated people from Yorskhire.

*** The semantic differential is based on the assumption that everyone interprests the scales in the same way.   Unfortunately,   this assumption is not true rendering the WES © useless to anyone other than Wendy.

**** For some products or services predicatability is not a positive experience quality (e.g. games).   Administrators are advised to either scope the item to refer to the service or product  controls.  

2 votes rating 4.5

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miniscule train robbery

Friday, November 28th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

while waiting for a train

wendy: a medium sized mocha please

cashier: £2.45

Wendy Hands over the cash and waits

barista:   medium Latte

Wendy:   is that for me?   I ordered a mocha,   are you making a mocha next?

barista: I don’t have an order for a mocha

man in queue behind me:   actually, you ordered a Latte

Wendy:   checks receipt,   it clearly states Mocha £2.45, shows receipt to man in the queue behind me to verify that I remembered correctly, checks cost of Latte ( £2.35)

cashier:   she did order a mocha

train pulls into station

Wendy:   I’ll take the Latte, keep the tip  

miniscule train robbery
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branding #5: chic boutique

Monday, August 11th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

The Great Western Hotel in Reading has been re-branded to a Malmaison Hotel.  This style appears to be referred to as ‘chic boutique’.    Judging by the internal decor boutique chic  means purple velvet furnishings,   lashings of pink,   large-swirly-print dark-wallpaper and an angular-geometric floor covering all held together with elevator music and a hint of stale cigarette smoke.

According to the Malmaison-branded paper-wrappers on the Napkins:   Malmaison. Eats. Drinks. Sleeps.

This sounded uninspiringly basic

I tried the eggs  benedict,   or rather egg benedict,   just the one egg and half a muffin.    The ‘eats’ were not impressing me,   the ‘drinks’ didn’t include any real ales.    Apart from  myself the only other customers  in the bar on this Saturday afternoon were a  couple of Hotel guests from the romantic together while speaking in Dutch.   After trying the ‘sleeps’ while waiting about 15 minutes for any member of the Bar staff to actually come into the bar I   gave-up on the ambition of eating a pudding and walked into the boutique  reception area  to ask if they could arrange to bring me my bill (US = check).

It was unisnpiringly  basic

However,   all of that said, I do have it on good authority that they have a fabulous suite with an en-suite train-set that is mumzie-impressingly-good.   I may have to get a second, mumzie, opinion on this.   Certainly I can see how a train-set is in keeping with the original,   pre-boutique, Great Western Railway (GWR) branding…

Luckily,   the chic boutique rebranding hasn’t yet spread to the external original architecture that conveys something of the original standing of the GWR.


branding #5: chic boutique
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early onset of curmudgeonism

Monday, April 7th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

received in an email from a boy sent to a distribution list of mainly boys including the odd non-boy like me:  

we had a Soccer-game and it was great Fun (even 1 Female attended :))

can you see any problem here or is refering to a gender-based stereo-type based on predominant current behaviours acceptable?

early onset of curmudgeonism
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branding. part 2

Sunday, April 6th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

facilitator:   put your hand up if you’ve been to  MacDonalds in the last week.

about 70% of the class raise their hands.   The facilitator points out that desptie many negative associations people still purchase the product.     Under my breath,  I mutter that  I’ve never been into MacDonalds.       Things start to go downhill.

facilitator:   BMW,   what words do you associate with BMW?

I frantically try to search for a word to cover shafted the failing British car industry.   Hearing  other people generate words like ‘stylish’, who am I in a room with…   …they go to Macdonalds and think BMW is stylish?   Am I in the wrong place?    I get frustrated with my inability to find one word that covers the true depth of my dislike for BMW

Wendy:   Bastards

Then we move on to consider  Coca Cola.   The word ‘Yuck’ comes to mind,   the rest of the class are generating words like ‘red’ and ‘sugar’.   I realise that I haven’t knowingly drunk anything produced by that company in the last 2 decades.   The girl stood next to me smiles and talks to me about how addictive and wonderful Coca Cola is.   I toy with the idea of telling her that I find the brand Coca Cola product terminally icky but decide that I should hold off on becoming a fully-fledged curmudgeon for at least another 10 years… …and return her enthusiasm with a smile….

branding. part 2
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I hate work week

Thursday, January 12th, 2006 | tags:  |
Brief* ‘rant’ warning
Mostly I love my job.
This week has been unusual and I’ve been doing all the yucky stuff. YUCK YUCK YUCK.  
700 times YUCK
Repetitive,   ridiculously over-technical,   700,   REALLY,   700* email exchanges with a product support team for an in-house application.   Only to discover it was my fault for getting an OBVIOUS setting wrong in the first place,   who did I think I was changing settings I didnt understand and then not remembering that I did it.   Some kind of GODDESS?????  
No I DON’T EXAGERRATE*,   or MISS-SPELL,   what are you thinking,   it’s my fault?   my FAULT?   Now look here sweetie,   if it involves COMPUTERS it couldn’t possibly be MY fault.   Stop being so picky, picky picky,   and make the whole thing easy easy easy for us masses of  key-boardingly-challenged cuties (gals and  lads).  
Brief rant over*

Comments from computer geeks may be ruthelesses deleted.   So DON’T DO IT,   I’m not in the mood,   I haven’t had any curry,   cheese or Beer…. …yet….
*I might be a bit wrong,   not a lot,   a bit.   Just a bit.   A tiny bit,   we can all be a bit wrong can’t we?   Stop hogging the moral high ground!


I hate work week
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